Letter from Councillor David Hendsbee to Lands and Forest Minister Iain Rankin.
[In this letter, Hendsbee calls on Rankin to overturn Rankin’s Letter of Restriction (December 19, 2019) banning most motorized vehicles from the Gaetz Brook Greenway trail, and instead setting up a trial program allowing motorized vehicles in the winter. Hendsbee posted this copy of his email on the Head & East Chezzetcook Gaetz Brook/ Conrod Settlement Community Group.]
"Dec.27/19 - The following email Letter has just sent [sic] to the NS Lands & Forestry Minister- The Honourable Iain Rankin...
Hello Minister -
It has been brought to my attention just prior to Christmas that SATA - Shore Active Transportation Association, have been granted the Letter of Restriction to put up gates on the refurbished railway corridor in Gaetz Brook.
It should be known that this old railway bed has been kept open and free from vegetation for at least four decades by the abutters with their tools and equipment so they could enjoy this rural country corridor with their snowmobiles, ATVs, skis, bicycles, motorbikes, as well as walkers and runners alike. But the physical state of the railbed fell into disrepair from erosion, washouts and wear and tear. Government funding was never made available to anyone until recently.
But when the funding did come, it was with conditions, restricted use for AT - Active Transportation modes only.
This old railway bed has been rebuilt with co-funding partnerships from the Province, Trans Canada Trail and HRM. Even though the municipality was a significant funder with this project, as the local Councillor, I have always been a constant advocate for Multi-Use Shared Trailway that should be enjoyed by everyone, motorized and non-motorized modes as well as equestrian riders.
With the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Gaetz Brook Greenway now almost complete, the last pieces of intrastructure, the gates, are now creating more animosity and division within the community.
During the construction phase, all user groups had access to the trail but did so at their own risk since it was a work in progress. There were no real conflicts between the various users except for one walker that your department has banned access until Spring.
But now the Trailway has had its final grading, gravel rolled and crusher dust compacted. And the winter frost has frozen the ground into a solid surface.
Therefore I am asking you to consider lifting the Restriction on the Trail and unlock the gates and permit full access by all various users for the winter months. As long as the ground is frozen, any potential damage should be kept to a minimum.
Once the Spring thaw occurs, then apply the Restricted Access code until the moisture and soft ground abates.
Having the Gaetz Brook Greenway open for the Winter can be a test pilot to show everyone that a Multi-Use Shared Trail can work with proper etiquette and respect by all for all.
I beseech that you consider this request and have the Gaetz Brook Greenway open for the winter season as a demonstration project.
Please & Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. Hopefully Happy Trails For All !
Regards- David Hendsbee
HRM Councillor- District 2"